Archive for the ‘crochet’ Category

OK, so this trip to DC. It was like mollusk overload! Not really, I can’t overload on mollusks. The two big things on my DC itinerary were the zoo and the Natural History Museum. The forecast called for rain on Saturday and sun on Sunday, so that made that decision pretty easy.

The main goal at the Natural History Museum was to see the crocheted coral reef, which was indeed incredible. There were so many different parts to the exhibit, and they had a zoologist and a crocheter on hand to talk to people.

One friend I was with had the interesting if somewhat philosophical question: Is coral rock? The zoologist said no, but clearly at some point coral becomes rock, right? The Guadalupe Mountains in Texas are primarily a coral reef from the Permian Period, for example, and I’m quite sure people would say that’s rock. At what point does coral achieve rockness?

But back to the crochet and the mollusks. I was delighted to see that mollusks were represented among the crocheted organisms.

Like this octopus! Well, unless it’s a jellyfish. I didn’t actually count the tentacles.

I like to think this curly thing on the floor is a nudibranch. But then again it’s just as likely it’s a marine flatworm like Pseudobiceros hancockanus. Hrm.

OK, this one! This one’s definitely a clam. Phew.

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I made a mollusk! Sorta, kinda. If you consider Cthulhu a molluskoid, certainly the Ood has to be one too. After all, that Dr. Who wiki page refers to the Ood’s coleoid tentacles, and that seems official enough for me!

I’m not actually a particular Dr. Who fan, but my friend is, so I made her this, for some fancy wall art:

You might kinda have to squint your eyes to see the character, but here it is in screencap form.

Tentacular! It didn’t occur to me until I was finished making this beast that it had anything to do with mollusks, because of course it’s only fictionally molluscan. But fictional mollusks need love too!

Here’s a clip of it in action:

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Weekly link roundup time!

1. What are you doing this weekend? Watching Sharktopus I hope!

I was going to embed the trailer, but in fact it looks so godawful I thought better of it. I’ll hold out for Bearsharktopus.

2. Purdue researchers working on what makes oysters stick together. It seems that oysters are producing a “glue” that’s 90% calcium carbonate and 10% protein, as opposed to the byssal threads other mollusks use that are predominantly protein.

3. I’m fairly obsessed with this new species of nudibranch that makes little egg doilies. It’s like the nudibranch version of me! I have been known to make a doily or two in my day.

4. I don’t know if you’ve been following the saga of the Inland Octopus mural, but residents of Walla Walla, WA are taking action to make sure the mural stays. I hope it does. Look how cute!

Inland Octopus Mural
(photo: Josh Westbrook)

5. Also, if you want your baby to be the coolest hippie baby ever, Inland Octopus sells hands down the coolest tie dye clothing I have ever ever seen. Done by Leslie at Cosmic Farmhouse.

6. This is an exciting weekend for me. My roommate from my San Francisco years is in town, and we are basically going to eat our way across town. Our first stop, and probably most auspicious, is wd-50, a restaurant specializing in molecular gastronomy. There are also a fair number of mollusks on the menu. I don’t eat animals in general and cephalopods in particular, but they sure do cook up pretty.

Cuttlefish, cashew, rootbeer, watercress

Tomatillo-pine gazpacho, soybean falafel, octopus confit

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I found the book Civilization and the Limpet at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. It was an especially good day in the science section there because there were a bunch of Stephen Jay Gould books, Richard Dawkins books, and this one. I picked up a bunch but this is the first that I’ve delved into, naturally.

It’s so great! The writer is super charming, and although the book starts with a chapter on urchins, it gets to limpets quite quickly. The first chapter is about how soft-bodied animals can’t know where their bodies are (our brains can process that information because it’s way more finite, since we have a finite number of joints, and they only have so much freedom of movement), and it makes navigating and manipulating the world difficult.

Thus we have two qualitatively different sorts of animal, both successful, but only one capable of manipulating its environment in a manner that has led to computers and the atom bomb. We think that this, our, sort of animal is more successful than the others, which are forever cut off from the possibility of such clever inventions. Yet we are both here in our millions, and only one of us is bashing the ozone layer.
Reflect on this next time that you meet a limpet.

The second chapter gets into sex, and it too is just so great.

Most set up as males as soon as they are old enough to be troubled by maturity This is no big deal. A sexually mature limpet sit, as is the way of limpets, and does nothing, most of the time. Not for him the pursuit of nubile lady limpets. No panting scramble across the rocks, no tiny molluscan feet touching as if by magic. A limpet has nothing, or next to nothing, to fantasize about. It develops sperm at an appropriate time of year, triggered perhaps by rising temperatures and high tides, it tosses the lot off into the sea and lets the little beggars get on with it, no doubt heaving a sigh of relief that it is now all over for another year, so it can settle down to serious matters such as feeding and digestion–a vintage year for algae one can always hope–and growth.

It continues to discuss how limpets change sex over the course of their lives (I’m sure I’ll devote more blog space to that phenomenon in the future, as the complicated sex of lots of animals is a particular pet topic of mine), as is the way of some mollusks, and it continues to charm and delight me. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this book!

Speaking of urchins and limpets, I also stumbled upon a crochet pattern yesterday, called, amazingly, Urchins and Limpets.

The neutral colored motifs are supposed to be the urchins, and the brightly colored motifs are supposed to be the limpets. I would love to crochet this (when I finish the other two gift blanket projects I’m working on) but I’d have the urchin motifs in an appropriate purple, and the limpets in appropriate limpet colors, like so:

The urchin photo (the purple is hard to see but I love their little hidey holes!) is one I took at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, one of my favorite places on the planet, and a great place for finding mollusks (including nudibranchs on a good day!)

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